Ditch your O levels

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Monday 19th January 2015

IMG_1502I’m a bit puzzled by the news that people over the age of 50 are changing O levels to GCSEs on their CVs in a bid to be considered for job vacancies.

They are also, according to The Sunday Times, deleting their early job history in a bid to appear younger than they actually are.

The thing that baffles me is that O levels were actually phased out in 1987, which by my (O level maths) reckoning means that today’s 43-year-olds did them. And 43-year-olds are hardly over the hill by anyone’s standards.

That aside, the paper is right when it says employers discriminate against older people. I know loads of women in their fifties who are keen to return to full-time work and would do a fantastic job – only they never even get as far as an interview, let alone a job offer.

As the law stands, employers are forbidden from asking for a job applicant’s date of birth. But Roz Altman, the government tsar for older workers, reckons many employers weed out job applications from candidates over the age of 50 by working out their age from information on their CVs.

As well as ditching ancient qualifications like O levels, older people should seek advice about how to write a CV in 2015. Nothing gives your age away more than methodically listing your qualifications and jobs and adding the names of a couple of referees for good measure. These days it’s all about skills, achievements, targets and ideas. And definitely not about O levels.

PS. The picture above has nothing whatsoever to do with O levels. I’ve just had lunch at Bill’s in Lewes – the first Bill’s to open and the king of them all. Buzzy atmosphere, chic decor and delicious food – I’ll definitely be back.

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